"Jesus calls his disciples, giving us authority to heal and sending us out. He doesn’t show us how to reliably cure a molar pregnancy. He doesn’t show us how to make a blind man see, dry every tear, or even drive out all kinds of demons. But he shows us how to enter into a way of life in which the broken and sick pieces are held in love, and given meaning In which strangers literally touch each other, and doing so make a community spacious enough for everyone. In which the deepest desires of our hearts draw us to health. Don’t be afraid, Jesus says: your faith will make you well.”
—Sara Miles, Jesus Freak, p. 105
"None of us can control what God does. But we can open our eyes and see what God is doing. Jesus says that in order to see the glory of God revealed, we have to look at the whole of creation: God is always among us, making us whole even as we try to divide ourselves, loving us even as we hate each other.
Look at the lame, he says, at the plagued, the poor: those you’ve cast out, those whose suffering you misinterpret as a sign of their own sinfulness. Don’t call unclean anything God has created; do not exclude anything or anyone from your vision. It is all God’s work.”
—Sara Miles, Jesus Freak, p. 11
"In stories that still have the power to scare us, Jesus tells his disciples to love by the upside-down values of God’s kingdom, rather than the fear-driven values of human society. He shows how family, tribe, money, violence, and religion—the powers of the world—cannot stand against the love of God. And he tells us that we, too, are called to follow him in breaking down all worldly visions that get in the way of carrying out his instructions. Sure, it’s impossible to feed five thousand people, make a deaf man hear, bring a dead girl to life, as long as you obey human rules. So do it God’s way instead, Jesus teaches. Say yes. Jump right in. Come and see. Embrace the wrong people. Don’t idolize religion. Have mercy. Jesus’ tips cast a light forward, steering us through the dark.”
—Sara Miles, Jesus Freak, p. 3
"I know what I believe, though the older I get, the more willing I am to admit that often, I barely believe any of it. Yet one thing I cling to is this: somewhere in between pre-slicing and wiping out the bread plate, there is a thin place. This mundane bread and inexpensive wine, gifts of God, become an offering back to him. In our ritual, we lift the wine and the bread, like a sacrifice, and then we eat it. We eat God, a little, somehow.
But it’s just bread and wine. Though I know how sacred this is, it still feels almost banal. So although, I come away from the table with a heart brimming with joy sometimes, more often I walk away preoccupied, already thinking of the week ahead.
But I choose to believe—-I have to believe—-that I have, right there, experienced a thin place. I have received the gift of God and swallowed it, and now, it is part of me, whether or not I was paying attention.”
"It’s a common and easy enough distinction, this separation of books into those we read because we want to and those we read because we have to, and it serves as a useful marketing trope for publishers, especially when they are trying to get readers to take this book rather than that one to the beach. But it’s a flawed and pernicious division. This linking of pleasure and guilt is intended as an enticement, not as an admonition: reading for guilty pleasure is like letting one’s diet slide for a day—naughty but relatively harmless. The distinction partakes of a debased cultural Puritanism, which insists that the only fun to be had with a book is the frivolous kind, or that it’s necessarily a pleasure to read something accessible and easy. Associating pleasure and guilt in this way presumes an anterior, scolding authority—one which insists that reading must be work.
But there are pleasures to be had from books beyond being lightly entertained. There is the pleasure of being challenged; the pleasure of feeling one’s range and capacities expanding; the pleasure of entering into an unfamiliar world, and being led into empathy with a consciousness very different from one’s own; the pleasure of knowing what others have already thought it worth knowing, and entering a larger conversation.”
—Rebecca Mead, The Pleasure of Reading to Impress Yourself